Digressing with Alice LaPlante

Alice LaPlante is an American writer living in Mallorca. She’s written best sellers and textbooks on how to write bestsellers, and has taught people how to write, and now that she’s no longer teaching in a formal setting, hosts a writing group in Mallorca. You’d think — and until recently, I’d have thought — that someone who has written a couple of bestselling novels wouldn’t have to write marketing copy for corporations in order to make ends meet.

But there you have it, and another data point suggesting that there are lots of ways to skin the writing-for-a-living cat. Because advance or no advance, you still have to think about little things like the mortgage or retirement or putting your kid through college. Not many writers get advances large enough to cover all of that, and if the only fiction available to us were people of that ilk, it would be a very short and monotonous reading list indeed.

In this podcast, Alice talks about balancing all those activities, maintaining her American identity, the economics of the publishing business (cannibalized by e-books or not), thinking (or not thinking) about audiences, and engaging (or not) in the social media dance.

I was struck by how emphatically she said she DOES NOT think about her audience, only about putting the best possible thing down on the page. And yet, paradoxically, she does write for an educated but traditional reading public (as opposed to readers of experimental or genre fiction), and is published by large, traditional publishers.

You can find her most recent work here at her website.

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